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Paradou's split personality? (a mini-review and a question)

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Paradou's split personality? (a mini-review and a question)

daveinchelsea | Mar 22, 2006 09:27 AM

I had an absolutely wonderful (and quite reasonably priced) dinner at Paradou in the Meatpacking earlier this week... but looking at posts on here, it seems like while other dinner-time guests generally had a good meal, the lunch crowd thought the place was awful. Anyone who's eaten there for both lunch and dinner care to comment or offer an opinion?

-----review-----
I went there a little early, so I can't really judge how the noise is when crowded. The front room seemed a bit cozy, but the back graden was lovely. Didn't hear any loud "generator" noise as was reported by a lunch guest on here.

The fois gras was absolutely sublime... wrapped around seasonings and pistchio, with a tinge of tangerine rind, blanched in red wine... it had the most perfect buttery texture and sublimely satisfying flavors that rolled accross the tongue well after having swallowed.

My party and I tried the lamb rack with lavender rice, the cassoulet, and the pork chop with butternut squash pureee. Each of them was quite excellent considering that the whole meal, including wine, came to just 50/person. The pork chop was probably worth considerably more -- it's been quite some time since I've been reminded how tender and full of flavor that cut of meat can be when done right. The lamb was well prepared and seasoned, but nothing particularly spectacular or unique. Just good, solid, uncomplicated provencal cooking. The lavender-infused rice was a bit more intriguing, and if anything, I wish there had been more served with the lamb... it came perfectly cooked and the infusion was of just the right stregnth to make it distinctive and savory, without edging into being distracting from the meat.
The cassoulet was a bit bean-heavy, but very hearty.

At only 7 dollars, the dessert crepe of chocolate and candied oranges was another fabulous deal... absolutely satisfying... the chocolate was rich and the perfect consistency... not scorched or over-melted in the slightest. The tarte tatin was a bit of a disappointment -- the apples were lacking in sufficient tartness, but presumably with better fruit, it would have been excellent.

The only real disappointment I had was in the wine selection -- the sauterne wasn't remotely up to the task of matching the outstanding fois gras, and worse, was served in a a SHOT GLASS. For shame. The Chambertin on offer was a watery disgrace to the commune.... very glad we did not order it. The Hermitage was serviceable, but nothing special. Would have liked to try the St. Emilion they had on the menu, but they were all out when we were there.

Particularly considering the price point, location, exemplary fois gras, and cute environment, I'd definitely reccomend it for a good and reasonble provencal dinner... Certainly a much better choice than Pastis or some of the other meatpacking spots where the focus is more on being seen than on good food!

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